If the bull market in commodities is over, somebody might want to make sure Tenaris (NYSE:TS) got the memo. On Tuesday morning, this Luxembourg-based producer of steel pipe products used mostly in the energy industry (pipelines, casings, and so on), but also in some industrial markets, announced that it's buying Maverick Tube (NYSE:MVK) in an all-cash deal.

At $65 a share, the deal will be worth close to $3.2 billion in total and should significantly expand Tenaris' access to the U.S. and Canadian markets. As you might have guessed from the name, Maverick is in a similar line of business -- making tubular steel products mostly for the energy industry, but also for applications such as electrical conduits.

But given that the history of corporate merger-and-acquisition activity is largely one of failure and a transfer of wealth from buying shareholders to selling shareholders, this deal doesn't prove anything about the prospects for Tenaris' business.

That said, I still think there's a lot of work remaining in expanding energy-production infrastructure. Companies ranging from ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) to Chesapeake (NYSE:CHK) to Ultra Petroleum (AMEX:UPL) continue to sink wells, and those wells need supplies. Likewise, there are major new pipeline projects all around the world. Even on a smaller scale, the continuing buildout of offshore exploration and production will necessitate tubing for both the wells and the transport of the oil and gas back to the shore.

I therefore think there should be good demand for tubular steel products for at least a couple of years. Yet I don't know whether Tenaris and others like Lone Star Technologies (NYSE:LSS) and NS Group (NYSE:NSS) can produce the ongoing volume and price hikes and the cost control necessary to excite investors. So the stocks aren't sure things even if the market has at least a few years of prosperity left in it.

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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson but has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).